Colleen (1936)

Approved  |   |  Musical, Romance  |  21 March 1936 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.0/10 from 193 users  
Reviews: 7 user | 4 critic

The Ames Company makes every effort to keep Uncle Cedric away from any decisions or work. This is in the best interests for him and the company. Trouble starts when he hires a schemer named... See full summary »



(screen play), (screen play), 2 more credits »
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Directors: Melvin Frank, Norman Panama
Stars: June Allyson, Dick Powell, David Wayne


Complete credited cast:
Colleen Reilly
Joe Cork
Minnie Hawkins
Cedric Ames
Alicia Ames
Paul Draper ...
Marie Wilson ...
Luis Alberni ...
Hobart Cavanaugh ...
J.M. Kerrigan ...
Pop Reilly
Addison Richards ...
Charles Coleman ...


The Ames Company makes every effort to keep Uncle Cedric away from any decisions or work. This is in the best interests for him and the company. Trouble starts when he hires a schemer named Joe as his personal assistant and then a gal named Minnie who loves fashion. He buys Minnie a dress shop where Colleen is the bookkeeper and scandal soon follows. When Donald goes to shut down the shop, he doesn't as he is infatuated by Colleen. Colleen runs the shop and fashion shows and starts to make a profit, but Minnie starts a scandal when Cedric tries to adopt her, but doesn't - much to the horror of Alicia and the amusement of the press. Then Joe sues Donald for the loss of Colleen's affection. Written by Tony Fontana <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


DICK POWELL Starts Singing....RUBY KEELER Starts Tapping... See more »


Musical | Romance


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

21 March 1936 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Colleen, A Modista  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


The running time at a press preview was 100 minutes, but it was cut to 89 minutes before release. See more »


Edited into Six Hits and a Miss (1942) See more »


I Love You Truly
(1906) (uncredited)
Music by Carrie Jacobs Bond
A brief portion played in the "The Magic and the Mystery of Clothes" number when a bridal gown is shown
See more »

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User Reviews

Love Among the Millionaires
30 March 2001 | by (Kissimmee, Florida) – See all my reviews

COLLEEN (Warner Brothers, 1936), directed by Alfred E. Green, reunites the musical team of Dick Powell and Ruby Keeler for the seventh and final time. Powell plays Donald T. Ames, the nephew Cedric Ames (Hugh Herbert), an eccentric millionaire whose wife, Alicia (Louise Fazenda), suspects him of philandering around with other women. He encounters Minnie Hawkins (Joan Blondell), a chocolate dipper working at the Itsey-Ditsey Nut Chewsie, becomes impressed with her, buys a dress shop where she gets to be in charge of the establishment. While investigating the books of the dress shop, Donald meets and becomes infatuated with Colleen Reilly (Ruby Keeler), the bookkeeper. Instead of closing up the shop, Donald agrees to keep it open for as long as Minnie behaves herself, but Minnie, the fortune hunter as she is, pretends to be interested in Cedric (who plans on adopting her as his daughter), and two-times him with Joe Cork (Jack Oakie), Colleen's steady boyfriend. Romance blossoms between Donald and Colleen, but further complications follow before things get under way on board an ocean liner.

A silly comedy that somehow works,COLLEEN brings back Powell and Keeler to familiar surroundings made famous from their earlier collaborations (GOLD DIGGERS OF '33 and DAMES), as a romantic couple surrounded by gold digger(s), an eccentric millionaire with scatterbrained wife, along with plenty of song and dance. It's not the usual backstage story. The production numbers this time just happen on screen with a bright score composed by the then popular Harry Warren and Al Dubin, which happened to be one of those rare cases where they failed to produce a single song hit. The score includes: "I Don't Have to Dream Again" (sung by Dick Powell, followed by singing and dancing models in a musical fashion show hosted by Keeler, highlighted with a tap dancing story by Paul Draper and Keeler); "The Boulvardier From the Bronx" (sung and performed amusingly by Jack Oakie and Joan Blondell as they dine in a Chop-Suey joint); "An Evening With You" (sung by Powell to Keeler as they take a stroll through the park); "You Gotta Know How to Dance" (sung by Keeler/danced by Keeler and Draper, and sung briefly by Powell), followed by a short reprise of "An Evening With You" sung by Powell to Keeler on deck of the ship.

Watching the ten minute finale of "You Gotta Know How to Dance," choreographed by Bobby Connolly, this number at times has the feel to the Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers production number of "The Continental" from their 1934 hit, "The Gay Divorcée" (RKO), which finds the camera following a group of dancers in long shot range and average shot towards its main focus of Keeler and Draper. Paul Draper, in his movie debut, is an unusual dancer (and bad actor whose participation in the plot is thankfully limited), with a much different style to Astaire's. However, he doesn't have that grace and elegance that made Astaire so popular and likable, which probably explains why Draper's film career was so short-lived. Draper's tapping at times drowns out the Vitaphone Orchestra underscoring in the two production numbers opposite Keeler.

Also seen briefly in a large cast of Warners stock players are Marie Wilson as Mabel (sharing one short scene near the film's opening opposite Herbert); J.M. Kerrigan as Colleen's father; Berton Churchill as Cedric's lawyer; and Luis Alberni as Carlo, the dress designer. As for Joan Blondell, who spends much of the time going about Bink-eyed and speaking in a dead-pan manner, it's Hugh Herbert who nearly walks away with the story since the main focus is on him instead of Colleen.

COLLEEN, an overlooked musical, is quite amusing and entertaining, offering Keeler an opportunity to sing and dance more than she ever did on screen in the past. However, her dancing opposite Draper has become no threat to the song and dance team of Astaire and Rogers. COLLEEN is worth viewing through once whenever presented on Turner Classic Movies.

One final note: Let's hope that someday COLLEEN goes through a restoration process since the audio can be slightly distorted and picture covered with acid spots that's quite noticeable near the conclusion. (***)

16 of 17 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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